| Photo courtesy of Imperial Symphony Orchestra

LkldNow founder and editor Barry Friedman was awarded the first Cygnet Award of 2019 on Tuesday by the community improvement organization Lakeland Vision. The award recognizes businesses and community organizations whose mission or activities align with the strategic goals of Lakeland Vision.

Friedman was presented the award at the intermission of the Imperial Symphony Orchestra concert in the Youkey Theatre at the RP Funding Center. Announcing the award, Lakeland Vision board member Xuchitl Coso said Friedman deserved the award “for the positive difference he is making in the community.”

“Many of you recognize tonight’s honoree, as his colleagues have described him, as diligent, intentional, devoted, and of course, intelligent. His work to deliver local news is full of integrity and passion,” she said. “Barry is helping Lakelanders be more informed and therefore more engaged with our community.”

In brief remarks accepting the award, Friedman noted that LkldNow and Lakeland Vision—both non-profit organizations— have similar missions in making Lakeland a better place to live.

“For us, our main tools are independent, community-driven reporting, and curation of news about Lakeland,” he said. “I started LkldNow for a few reasons. One was to give back to the community where I worked as a newspaper editor for 32 years, but also to find new paths for community journalism in these times of uncertainty for the news business.”

Friedman thanked his financial supporters and board members, as well as its stable of freelance journalists. He also thanked his readers.

“As I like to say: A minute a day at LkldNow.com makes you smarter about Lakeland,” he said.


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